journal — twelve
On tinctures, contributions, and time well-spent
Ordinarily, I share ten things from the past week that I’d like to remember.
This week was different. My nan’s death, work without much pause or play, aches & lethargy from my autumn booster, and a deep, steady sleep (for the first time in too long) induced by mushroom tincture — my head has been lifted from its usual rhythms by all these & more. It requested a different approach.
Writing nan’s eulogy began with a concerning quiet — all I’d be able to say, I was certain, is that I loved her very much. Nothing else would come. Soon enough, sure enough, though, snippets of feelings & vignettes & stories-of-nan barged in, bustled for room, demanding an audience & memorial. Now that I’d conjured a choice, I believed that the loud, obvious voices should not be immortalised over the clearest; the truest. So, what to include, ignore, edit?
People contain multitudes of rooms, so many rooms each, however sparse. In each room — one for their home, another for their soul, physical presence, career, their mind, their love — there’s a complex curation of things that represent how that part of their life was lived, much like the image conjured by Simon Critchley’s Memory Theatre. & look how remarkably different, how night & day, their rooms look compared to anyone else’s. Here’s a grandmother, a room split into four — a corner per grandchild — each space different; here are her voices (singing & stern), her humour (giggle & cackle), her health (disease & vitality), her skills (a distinct ability to make wet cakes laced with tinned pears & cream).
People create all this, in & around themselves, with their fleeting time.
It’s astounding how much we’re made from.
Contribution — from Latin contribuere, meaning bring together, itself a bringing-together of com (with, together) + tribuere (to allot, pay — think tribute).
Tincture — from Latin tinctura, the active of tingere, meaning to dye or colour or, as used in the early 1600s, an imparted quality, like the tint created by a dye.
I now have two grandparents, which, for a 31-year old, I understand to be quite fortunate. By consequence & in cliché of writing this eulogy, I dwelled on my own rooms & what my nan (on the right, above & below) may have placed in them, or my grandad (on the left, above & below) who died when I was quite young.
What is my life worth because of their contributions?
How have I been dyed & tinted?
This week, I
finished Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies written by Maddie Mortimer, a story of blood ties & bodily symphonies that held me captive until the absolute end — I wrote about its other traits last week. (Published by Pan Macmillan this year, then longlisted for the Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, and winning the Desmond Elliott Prize.)
watched Living at Frome’s Westway Cinema, directed by Oliver Hermanus (Moffie & alumnus of the film school I worked with), starring both Bill Nighy & Aimee Lou Wood — veteran civil servant receives a medical diagnosis that inspires him to cram some fun & meaning into his remaining days.
Both, accidentally, were rather relevant to the mood of the week: the sense of pressing, precious time.
With the dying of autumn and death of winter approaching, starting with its solstice on Wednesday 21 December — less light in the day, more sore throats & bills & gifts for family who occasionally see you — it’s a time to consider what needs getting rid of before settling, in the spring, on what to introduce.
I’ve considered the things I can control and what could, should, be taken away — so that I might better adorn my own rooms.
I’ve removed a bunch of auto-consumption subscriptions, like Netflix and the papers that arrive on my doorstep, so that I can reset & (re)introduce for a while.
On Trello, I’ll track my way through some best of lists from publications I trust to better introduce myself to writing, music, and film through the ages.
listen: 100 albums of the 90s (from Rolling Stone) & another 100 from the 00s (also Rolling Stone), the decades I grew up in, plus full discographies of musicians I love — I’ll start with Papa Roach & Dolly Parton. I’ll pick an album or two each week and listen to the full thing once a day. For my podcasts, I’ve stripped them down to three — Stuff You Should Know & Radiolab & The Adam Buxton Podcast — so I can catch-up & reintroduce them again one at a time. (I want to feel excited about new episodes again.) Audiobooks, I plan to start matching up with long walks (& a new Spiracle membership).
watch: 100 best films of the 90s, 00s, 10s (from Little White Lies), plus a bunch of series I’ve always meant to watch (Seinfeld, The Man in the High Castle, the rest are on a watchlist).
read: prizes, authors, clearing the shelves, and some novella lists.
I’ve put time in this week to review my weekly calendar routine, as it’s a little stale, and: plans to look for more new work, shift towards a plant-based diet at home, have my home valued, and spend time on people who show they’re worth my time — cutting unstable income, unhealthy food, an environment that no longer suits me, and people.
All this to be more of the me I’d like to be.
Hello — thanks for reading.
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Thank you — Daniel.